Panel Paper: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Tulsa’s Individual Development Account (IDA) Program: Findings From a Long-Term Follow-Up of a Random Assignment Social Experiment

Friday, November 9, 2012 : 8:40 AM
D'Alesandro (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

David H. Greenberg, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

This paper presents findings from a cost-benefit analysis of the Tulsa Individual Development Account (IDA) program.  The results imply that program participants gained from the program, that the program resulted in net costs to the government and private donors, and that society as a whole was probably worse off as a consequence of the program.  The report examines in some detail whether these findings are robust to a number of different considerations, including the assumptions upon which the results depend, uncertainly reflected by the standard errors of the impact estimates used to derive the benefits, and costs, and omitted benefits and costs, and concludes that they are essentially robust.  For example, a Monte Carlo analysis suggests that the probability that the societal net benefits of the Tulsa program were negative is over 90 percent and that the probability that the loss to society exceeded $1,000 is 80 percent.

Full Paper: